A report, which would have allowed the EU to gain more control over employment law, healthcare, education and pensions, has been blocked in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.

MEPs voting on the ‘equalities between women and men in 2012’ report rejected calls by its author, portugese communist Ines Zuber MEP, to include a raft of measures in the report aimed to give the EU greater control over family life.

London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis said “while the report can be commended for including calls to combat violence against women, end gender-based violence as a whole and promote equal pay for equal work, the report went too far in an attempt to create a supranational framework, giving Member States no say or control over equality issues”.

“The Conservatives are wholly committed to preserving and fostering a society where women and men enjoy equality of opportunity and equal treatment across all areas of life, but efforts to eradicate discrimination or unfairness must come from Member States. Only tailor-made policies taking into account varying traditional, cultural and social backgrounds can successfully alter attitudes and current situations.”

The report would have paved the way for greater EU control of employment law including levels of wages, employment contracts, gender quotas and maternity, paternity and parental leave, family law, healthcare, education and school textbook, housing and pension rights – all of which are currently Member state competencies.